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[css3-multicol] The purpose of multi-column layout?

From: Andrew Fedoniouk <news@terrainformatica.com>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2010 23:30:56 -0700
Message-ID: <1CBDDC7D787A401DA575BD3E11AD4D5B@terra3>
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Simple question: what is the purpose of Multi-column Layout Module 
http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-multicol/ ? What problems it is trying to solve?

Its basic idea is clear: replace text as on newspaper page - in multiple 
columns. But in CSS use cases (e.g. HTML styling) this is doubtful feature,
at least it appears as such. 

In case of newspaper page design positions of text components are fixed - 
once designed page will be printed exactly as it was designed.
But with HTML/CSS it is not quite so - pretty much each UA uses its own  
way of measuring and rendering text - positions and dimensions of words 
may vary,  sometimes significantly.  So you cannot design the CSS page as 
newspaper page - e.g. it is not possible to ensure how many columns 
the text will actually get, will all columns be filled in full, etc.

Multi-column assumes that its content is rendered 
in the view with horizontal scrollbar and without vertical scrollbar.
(With vertical scrollbar consuming such text setup is quite challenging).
This means that number of columns and so relative positions of 
portions of content will vary not even in UAs of different vendors but
pretty much for each user - different number of toolbars in UI, etc. 

So is my question: why multi-column? 
Which and whose problems it will solve?

Andrew Fedoniouk.

Received on Monday, 24 May 2010 06:31:27 UTC

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